[Link to Oringinal Article]
SANTA CRUZ >> Santa Cruz County lost 5,200 jobs in December due to seasonal shrinkage in agriculture, retail and local government but unemployment fell to 8.5 percent, down from 9.2 percent a year ago, according to a state report posted Friday.
The explanation is one data set is used to calculate the jobless rate while another is used tally jobs.
The last time December unemployment was this low was in 2007 — before the recession — when it was 7.3 percent, according to state labor analyst Jorge Villalobos.
Over the hill in Santa Clara County, where the tech boom is fueling job creation, unemployment is down to 3.1 percent.
Two statistics showing recovery is on track: The number of people unemployed declined to 11,700 last month from 12,700 in December 2014 and the jobless rate for 2015 was 7.4 percent, down from 8.7 percent in 2014.
However, there’s a job gap, with employment at 7.6 percent in the city of Santa Cruz and 10.9 percent in Watsonville.
The last month of the year, most sectors are either stable or shrink but manufacturing added 300 jobs compared to a year ago.
The count is taken as of the 12th of the month and includes part-time as well as full-time jobs.
Villalobos did not have detail to explain why the local government job loss was larger than usual.
One large employer in that sector, Cabrillo College, has been on winter break; the spring semester starts Monday.
Owners of Ivéta Gourmet are hiring 20 to 25 mostly part-time staff for the new location in the Graduate Student Commons at Quarry Plaza on the UC Santa Cruz campus.
The space is being renovated with daylight harvesting sensors and energy-efficient LED fixtures, supported by $25,000 from the UCSC Carbon Fund Committee.
The target opening is mid-February.
This is the second location for Cafe Ivéta, which has been operating on the Westside since 2010, part of a family enterprise that started in Chicago with an espresso bar and a wholesale business manufacturing scone, muffin and biscuit mixes.
Founder John Bilanko, 68, an attorney, was lured to Santa Cruz after helping daughters Lisa and Danielle move into their campus digs.
“We saw how beautiful it is,” Bilanko said.
Sixteen years ago, he and his wife Yvette moved west, selling the espresso bar to focus on the gourmet line.
With the campus seeking a local operator, he saw an opportunity for the cafe business to grow, won the bid and signed a four-and-one-half-year lease.
“It’s a high-traffic location without a major investment,” he said.
Daughter Danielle will manage the campus cafe; daughter Lisa manages the Westside cafe.
One trend Bilanko has seen is customers “want to know where their food comes from so they know they are getting quality.”
He will have free-range chicken and turkey and grass-fed beef on the menu at UCSC along with eggs, soups, salad bar and fish tacos. He hopes to obtain vegetables grown at UCSC’s 30-acre organic farm, cutting out the shipping middleman.
Retirement is not on his horizon.
“I really enjoy this, creating something,” he said.
[Link to Oringinal Article]